There is something magical about using liquid nitrogen to make gelato or ice cream. I’ve seen it demonstrated – plumes of vapour and, just moments later, icy delights. The science is very simple – liquid nitrogen is really, really, really cold, so anything that comes in contact will freeze really, really, really quickly. A couple of minutes and a lot of beating later – gelato!
But how does it compare with traditional gelato? Time to find out at Dex2rose, the home of artisan-nitro desserts.
Down one of Melbourne’s famed grungy laneways, and past a spectacular wall mural, Dex2rose has a laid-back industrial vibe. The sort of place for a casual catch-up with friends, or for a bit of solo time-out before heading back into the urban jungle.
I was definitely in the latter category. Feeling in need of a sweet treat.
Dex2rose is all about desserts and drinks. Waffles, crepe cakes, milkshakes and insta-friendly sweet concoctions. Or gelato in cups, cones and take-home packs. Dex2rose has just seven gelato flavours: salty caramel, white chocolate, red velvet, milk chocolate, matcha green tea, mango sorbet and raspberry sorbet.
On our gelato travels, generally I opt for a simple cup or cone. This time I was tempted by something a little more elaborate – Mango Pash Brulée, described as a dairy-free sorbet made from real mangoes and passionfruit, with a torched sugar top, served with a syringe of Italian mango sauce and fresh raspberries. Love mango, love passionfruit, love raspberries. Sounded perfect.
Even though the kitchen is open, Dex2rose does not make a big show of the gelato-making process. Probably for safety reasons, customers are kept well away from the nitrogen action.
The presentation of my Mango Pash Brulée was not good. The exterior of the gelato cup was covered in melted gelato which was gradually pooling on the counter. Presumably the aftermath of blowtorching for the brulée. The flimsy napkin supplied was nowhere near sufficient to clean either the cup or my hands which had become incredibly sticky by the time I reached my table.
OK, the presentation was underwhelming, but how did it taste?
The gelato was incredibly smooth and creamy, but was quite sweet, tasting overwhelmingly of mango. The thin, brittle crust of caramelised sugar was a nice textural contrast. Acidity from passionfruit would have added some welcome balance, but if the gelato included any passionfruit, it was undetectable. The mango sauce was unnecessary, only adding more of the same sweet notes. Just two plump fresh raspberries perched on top.
Could have been so much better…
377-9 Little Bourke Street
(enter via Racing Club Lane)
Melbourne Vic 3000
T: (03) 9078 0784